FAMU alumna makes history

FAMU alumna Star Manning.
Photo submitted by Yayri Hazell

FAMU alumna Star Manning recently became the first female commander of the American Legion Sammy Davis, Jr. Post 784 in Inglewood, California.

After being named the first female commander, Manning, 37, said she was astonished at how far her journey took her.

“It feels like a rite of passage. It’s not a surprise, but it feels like something I have been preparing for all my life. When it finally came,” she said, “I’ve already have been serving the veterans for years, and it came as no surprise. It was now time to serve.”

Manning’s story is influential, inspiring and just incredible.

Manning was introduced to the armed forces after graduating from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles. Stationed first in Okinawa, Japan, she later finished her service in the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, a military base in southern California.

There are always challenges within someone’s journey, and Manning did not get to where she is now alone.  Prior to earning her bachelor’s in broadcast journalism from the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication at Florida A&M University, Manning said she had the best experiences in her classes and with her professors.

“Being a broadcast journalism student, people think that the only thing you could do with a journalism degree is to become a journalist. In actuality it prepares you to become a great speaker, be able to relay and communicate your message eloquently,” said Manning.

Dhyana Ziegler, interim dean of the journalist school and one of Manning’s past professors, said it was no surprise to see Manning get this promotion. “She is always focused, very vibrant and she knew what she wanted. She did not have to be directed. If she wanted something she went for it and I am so proud and pleased that she has this honor.”

There were trying times for Manning during her road to success but being in front of the camera, taking Professor Kenneth Jones and Professor William Jiles, have tremendously helped her. “Those live experiences within my classes have put things into play. I learned no matter what job you have if you cannot use a correct sentence, you cannot communicate and sell yourself. And that has gotten me into every position. I was able to sell myself and tell the story.”

In addition, others also have spoken highly of Manning’s success.

Jiles, interim journalism division director, was elated when he heard about Manning’s success. "I am very proud of her. She was one of my students in several of my classes. Star has always been attentive, always had the sense of ambition about her. Which came from her military background. To know that she has received this position is very exciting and well-deserved.”